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Summary of 2017

Summary of 2017

January, 2017

In January of 2017 I closed my first company. I had learned so much, you can read more about this in my summary of 2016. I was very satisfied with the decision, everyone involved learned a lot and we made a profit!

Real estate agent personal development

In this same month I flew to London for an unpaid internship as a real estate agent at RE/MAX. In the four months that I spent at this company I worked 9AM to 7PM, six days per week. In the nights I would study business or personal development books relentlessly until I fell asleep. Only to then wake up at 6AM to get ready for the gym. These were hard times but I don’t have any regrets because I met a lot of amazing people along the way. I made huge jumps in my personal development and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Besides that I started a YouTube channel but after creating it, I realised how unimportant the idea was. Looking back at the notes I made about the channel taught me a lot about the way I think and that I still have a lot to learn in regards to creating priorities for myself.

 

February, 2017

Officially started my internship at RE/MAX London. This was my first time cold calling people. I was so bad at it. I called 150 numbers per day, half of them did not answer and the other half were people that had never heard from the company. Again, now looking back I understand that that’s what the whole concept of cold calling was but I was calling an 8 year old spreadsheet asking people if they wanted to sell their house with a foreign accent. I think that if I understood that the point is to plan a meeting, not to sell the house it would have been a lot less devastating. I called 1.500 people and none of them wanted anything to do with me.

 

March, 2017

In march of 2017 I set my first major goal: ‘’Rent out my first owned property before I am 23.”

Besides that I also had my first ideas about Visionary, I decided that I want to master entrepreneurship. I just wasn’t sure how to really get started with this, so I first started reading books.

 

My father is a great networker!

Mid-March my parents came over to London for the weekend. We had a great time, first going to a gin bar and then for some food in a restaurant. Apparently when my dad was ordering some drinks at the bar he talked to the barman that I’m doing an internship at a local estate agency because a week later, as I was showing a client a room, when I told him that I am an intern he asked if my parents were over last weekend. When I asked him how he knew, he said “Your dad told me!” the entire mood changed, he suddenly was very interested in the room, he even started envisioning how he would place his TV in the room and everything!

Started reading – The Virgin way by Richard Branson
As Mr. Branson mentions in his book, making notes is important. I started making notes and I have already seen how beneficial it is because I don’t have to remember everything that’s on my mind!

I am very focussed at this moment. I want to master entrepreneurship, I know which things I want to learn within that realm and I’m looking forward to see what the future holds! On the other side I really miss my friends right now. I would hug them if I could and I don’t think I’ve ever hugged my friends.

 

May, 2017

Brainstormed for a new company, the company has the purpose of helping unknown DJ’s with talent to get more exposure. This will first be done through music platforms such as SoundCloud and possibly our own website. This idea never officially launched!

Started reading – Start with why by Simon Sinek

 

Motionly, my second company, is founded. This is a video production company that creates everything from TV commercials to 2D animations. This company exists to this day and is doing very well!

My 2nd start-up company!

 

New Connections

I met a guy called Amar at RE/MAX Exclusive, he is 31 years old, owns 9 properties and simply lives off the rent. He really inspires me, while I was showing him a property he explained to me that he is able to work on a commission only basis because he receives the rent from tenants every month! When I asked him if it was worth it he said: ‘’absolutely! I am free man, I can do whatever I want.’’

Found my purpose – I want become highly successful at a young age to inspire and show young adolescents that anything is possible if you devote yourself to an idea or vision. Looking back, this must be tied in with finishing the book ‘Start with Why’.

Joined this product pitch thing to get an investment for my company. I was SO into it, for two weeks I was perfecting this business plan document and talking to all kinds of business people to get their feedback. I sent it in and in June they would tell me that I won!

 

June, 2017

I was not chosen as the winner of the product pitch. However I loved how I responded. I remember the moment very vividly. I was in bed on my phone in the morning. I saw the notification of the email coming in with the product pitch title, my heart dropped. I clicked it, read through the email and it said that I was not selected for the product pitch. And after I read it I literally said in English out loud: “I’M GOING TO DO IT ANYWAYS!”.

In June I returned home from England. I was very happy to be back. At the time I wanted to go through my notes eventually and reflect on what I have learned. But first I had to see my friends!

I also invited some friends to meet me at these free events related to business through an app called Meetup. They appreciated my invitation and everyone accepted! This way I could finally see my friends without wasting time!! I’m was so excited! Anyways, Motionly is going to be great and I will make it happen. That’s why I wrote down: ‘’I will not be working for a boss before the end of this year while being able to fully support myself.’’

 

July, 2017

In July I went on a vacation with my friends to Lloret De Mar, I intentionally didn’t do much during these two months. I also learned a lot, about friendships.

Time for another Meetup! This time I went to a meetup called ‘Face your fear of public speaking’, I wrote a blog post about this at the time. It was scary but educative. Besides that I learned how to use WordPress so I can build my own websites and stuff.

 

August, 2017

I had another great idea! Challenge myself to learn any skill and give myself 24 hours to do it. The idea originated because I wanted to see how fast I could learn WordPress from scratch. It took me about six hours to build my first website without watching any tutorials.

Another vacation. To Greece this time. Taking this time off allowed me to read 60 pages and the day after 70 pages, after that I finished the book. This has never happened to me. Usually I was only able to read like 30 pages per day. The difference now was that I actually took the time to sit down, focus and read. This opened another world for me, my parents taught me earlier in this vacation that I’m not bad at reading, as a child I just didn’t read. The more you read, the faster you will become. Looking back at this it gives me another insight that all I need is to stay focussed on one thing at a time and that thing will expand, quickly.

I remember that I woke up in Greece at 4AM to watch my hero Conor McGregor lose to Mayweather which was kind of devastating to watch. And I also lost a €50,00 bet to my dad. I normally don’t watch sports or fights but this fight was quite cool because I was really into the McGregor mindset at the time.

When I came home at around 8am my parents went to sleep immediately but I stayed up and started jotting some ideas in my phone’s notes. I kept writing, it went so naturally and without effort, flawlessly I wrote down exactly what I had been thinking for almost two years but couldn’t get out of myself. I wrote a plan that allowed me to improve and study with very clear guidelines so I always know what I could improve, it was a plan of mastering entrepreneurship that started with mastering sales.

 

This must be what success feels like

I had just finished a long term plan that gave me perfect guidelines on how I could improve effectively every single day and document it properly so I can look back at my work. I walked outside on the balcony, put my hands on the railing and saw a beautiful sea view under the right combination of the sun’s warmth and wind. It was 28* with a medium strong wind that cooled you down but did not blow you away.

Imagine the feeling of suddenly knowing exactly what you are going to do and achieve in the next three years. It was a long struggling phase where I kind of knew what I wanted to do, and I kind of knew what I wanted to achieve and suddenly I wrote a page full with my exact thoughts clear as the Greek sky. Everything I had been thinking for years put into one document, it almost feels unreal. This is who I am and what I have wanted for many years but couldn’t produce and suddenly it just happened.

When I walked outside, I was the only one awake in my apartment, I was the only one awake in our hotel. No one else was around me, there I was, alone with my thoughts and I whispered to myself: “This must be what success feels like.”

 

September, 2017

In September I started working for a marketing agency, I really wasn’t into it but I can definitely appreciate the CEO’s no-bullshit approach to work. It ended up teaching me something five months later. I started waking up at 5AM instead of 6AM and I love it so far.

 

You can make someone’s day by being yourself

Today in the car I was completely jamming out playing songs like ‘I feel good’, while dancing and smiling in the car. Then I got stuck in a traffic jam (like every day at this job) but I kept dancing and then a guy that was in his car in the traffic jam on the other side of the road saw me but I didn’t care so I continued to really dance out of joy and like pointing towards his car with the song playing and he couldn’t help but laugh at my happiness (and probably ridiculous looking moves) at 8:30 in the morning and then the traffic jam disappeared and we both drove away in opposite directions but his smile when he drove away made my day.

 

Started experimenting a lot with flor state, deep work and meditation. This sleeping schedule is killing me but I like I’m disciplined enough to do this, all I need to do is find the right structure and processes to make this realistic. One reason I fell out of my sleeping schedule for three days is because I was just really dried out. Once I started drinking more water I was feeling a lot better.

This website is going to be an amazing learning experience! I’m very happy with www.samlucas.com even though I paid €500,00 for the domain name, however I know my name is worth more than that. I’m in such a great place in my life right now, I know exactly what my purpose is and where I’m going. It’s such a peaceful way of living when you know your purpose, I am working incredibly hard and giving it everything I have and sacrificing everything yet I am still so happy and peaceful, I know that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, even if I don’t make money.

One of my friends offered me a place to work so I didn’t have to rent an office. Even while she was away at her job I was allowed to come in her house and work from her place.  I will be forever grateful for the people that believed in me when no one else did. She is a perfect example of this. Make sure to surround yourself with people that truly care about you.

 

October, 2017

Had a video shoot in France for COGS4CANCER. 10 days of driving through France to follow British mega yacht captains that we cycling from London to Antibes. For about two weeks we only slept in castles and five star hotels, it was another level of luxury that I had never experienced before. The entire trip was donated by the Keizer Family that hired us.

Shortly after I experienced quite a severe case of being exhausted. This lasted for approximately three or four weeks. I reflected and watched a lot of videos online that had nothing to do with my purpose. Which is why that phase lasted so long. Watching videos blocks the flow state.

 

December, 2017

After not making any real money for seven months I made the decision to take massive action. I started seeing results a few weeks after. Suddenly a lot of deals started being in progress. On the same day 26 December I closed 4 deals for a total of €15.000. on the 30th of December I had another meeting with a client for a €35.000 deal, I was so afraid. I didn’t sleep for days. The day before the meeting I didn’t sleep until 5AM because I was so nervous. I threw up at 3AM because I was so scared. After the meeting I went home and threw up again, the feeling that I had for the last few days is indescribable. I felt a constant feeling in my neck and chest area that was restricting my breathing and made me feel like I was going to throw up. The pressure was so heavy but I went to the meeting and did quite well, at least the deal went smoothly.

When you become successful people only see the very peek of what you have achieved. They will say that you are lucky. But where were they when you were up at 5AM to study? where were they when you were working a second job deep into the night? Where were they when you were throwing up early in the morning because you were so far outside of your comfort zone? The only message I want to give you is, make it happen!

 

What achievements am I proud of this year?

  • Really pushed myself to get into a routine.
  • Chose carefully which projects were relevant and which were not.
  • Started with reading a lot more of the right books.
  • Figured out why I’m doing this.
  • Decided that entrepreneurship is my future.
  • I’m no longer dependant on a monthly check from an employer.

 

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How to achieve flow state

Sam Lucas in flow

Flow state is almost always present when analysing high performance athletes or successful business people. You probably have experienced it yourself, most people refer to this state of mind as being ‘in the zone’ or ‘in the moment’. In this video you can hear martial artist Rickson Gracie describing flow state.

We used to think of ‘flow’ as if it were a binary, like a light switch, either you were in flow state or you were not. What we know today is that flow state is a four part cycle, you must move through each phase before you can move into the flow state itself.

 

Phase 1: Struggle

So even though flow might be the most desirable and pleasant state on earth, the cycle to achieve it starts with a very unpleasant state known as struggle. This is a difficult phase where you load yourself up with information and knowledge, loading and overloading the brain with information. For a writer this is planning a book, this is when you’re doing interviews. It’s when you’re diagramming or structuring things and as a general rule it is often quite unpleasant phase compared to the flow state.

 

Phase 2: Release

From struggle you want to move into the Release phase. In flow this literally means you should take your mind off the problem. So what happens in flow is that we trade our conscious processing (which is slow, energy inefficient and can only hold about four memories at once) for subconscious processing. This is extremely fast, very energy efficient and has pretty much endless room.

So to do that you must move from struggle, you have to stop thinking about whatever you were thinking about. There are many ways to take your mind off the problem:

-Long walks.
-Gardening
-Gym / Working out

The only thing that you can’t do is watch TV to move through this phase. Television changes your brainwaves in a way that blocks flow.

Flow State
Flow State

Phase 3: Flow

Once you move from release, neaurobiologically there’s a global release of nitric oxide which is a gaseous signalling molecule that is found everywhere in the body. Simply explained, this flushes out all of the stress hormones and replaces them with ‘feel-good’, performance enhancing chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins which bring you to the flow state. Now you are in the flow state, the third phase of the cycle.

To read more about flow state, click this link to see all my articles about the topic. I also recommend this book by Steven Kotler, The Rise Of Superman!

Phase 4: Recovery

The fourth and last phase is recovery. This is a very crucial part of the cycle because you go from this amazing high of flow to a very deep low that will show up in recovery. A lot of it is that the ‘feel-good’ neurochemicals have flushed out of your system which requires various vitamins, minerals and sunlight to rebuild.

So the back end of the cycle is also very unpleasant some times. If you are truly interested in hacking flow you must learn how to struggle better and you must learn how you recover better. The better you get at doing this, the faster you will move through the next cycle and be in flow more often.

 

Advice

You must have emotional fortitude in order to go through the cycle efficiently. The reason why I mention this is because at first it’s quite devastating when you no longer feel like superman after the flow phase. If you get too stressed out about this you will start feeling low and you start producing cortisol. A little bit of this is fine but too much will block the accelerated learning that comes with flow. You will get the short time benefit of flow but you won’t have the long term benefit of accelerated learning.

The other thing is if you are bummed out and no longer in flow during the recovery phase, it’s very difficult to get up through the difficult fight of struggle that follows.

 

This article was written by Sam Lucas

 

 

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The secret to a perfect handshake!

Perfect handshake

Since touch is the most powerful and primitive nonverbal cue, it’s worth devoting time to cultivate a great handshake. To perfect your handshake it is a good start to learn about the types of handshakes and their meaning. This way you can consciously choose which type of handshake to apply for different people. It might take some practice but if you apply the knowledge from this article you are on the way to your perfect handshake!

 

The perfect handshake, is it possible?

Shaking hands is a remainder of the earlier ages. When primitive tribes would meet in friendly or neutral circumstances, they would reach out with the palms of their hands facing forward. This was to prove that they did not carry or hide a weapon.

Even though most people have continued to shake hands in modern years, many of us still have not mastered the art. Most people don’t think about what they do with their hands or how they shake someone’s hand. However they don’t know that a perfect handshake can give you instant credibility. Alternatively, a wrong one can cost you the job or the contract. So, no “dead fish” or “bone-crusher” grips, please.

 

three perfect handshake
The perfect handshakes

Even so, the first time you shake someone’s hand determines if there will be a case of dominance, submissiveness or a neutral playing field. If you do it right you will make a strong first-impression or you will close a deal. However if you don’t do it right, your colleagues might start talking behind your back or your customer will run from you!

In this image you see the three main types of handshakes. I will explain what each of these handshakes communicates. These are the basics of handshakes and body language, however it is important to know everything about the basics before you move on to more complicated things.

 

The dominant handshake

You can display dominance in your handshake by turning your hand in such a way that your hand palm is positioned facing downward. Your hand palm does not have to face all the way down but when you put your hand on top of the other person’s hand you communicate that you want to lead the conversation.

In the first picture you can see that someone is clearly trying to take the control. This is because he positioned his hand is on top of the other person’s hand. If your hand is on top it communicates that you have direct authority over the other person.

If you going into a negotiation with the owner of a company, I recommend not using this handshake. Unless you truly have authority over the other person it could communicate that you’re trying very hard to look dominant. This handshake will suit you best if you are a very confident individual.

It is much more manipulative to give the neutral or submissive handshake. The dominant handshake is a very bold move and it’s hard to hide. Only use it intentionally and definitely not by accident!

 

Submissive handshake

The opposite of the dominant handshake is the handshake where your palm is facing upward. You can see This is the perfect handshake if you want to give the other person the lead in a conversation or situation. It could also be used for different situations. For example: if you would like to apologize to someone in your business network, you could greet them with the submissive handshake. If you need to apologize to someone you could also consider thinking about where you will sit and your posture also has a big influence on how your message comes across.

This type of handshake has a specific purpose but I don’t recommend using it all the time.

 

Neutral handshake

The neutral is a great option for meeting casually or when you don’t have any specific intentions with this person. The neutral handshake, as shown in the image above, is established by a firm vertical grip. When no one is in the dominant or submissive position, the neutral handshake is achieved.

On average the handshake of a man is twice as strong as a women’s handshake. Therefore it is not a surprise that you often hear women complaining that they squeezed their hand too hard. The man’s hands have evolved to pull, throw and hit things with over 45KG of force but in business there’s no need to crack someone’s bones! To create a feeling of equality during your handshake it is important to apply equal pressure compared to the other person.

Bonus Tips:

  • Don’t forget to make eye contact. I always make eye contact until the other person looks away but do whatever suits you best.
  • The way you can manipulate the handshake to your favour is by going in for the neutral handshake and once you are connected you then turn your hand to the position that you want (upward or downward facing palm).
  • The most important tip that I can give you is to practise with your friends and family and asking for feedback.

 

Read more articles by Sam Lucas here.

On the Facebook page, the articles are posted regularly if you would like to be notified when there’s a new post!

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Where to sit in a business meeting

Where to sit in a business meeting

Do you know where to sit in a business meeting?

Where to sit in a business meeting? If you asked this question then you already know that not all chairs are equal. Where you are seated in a formal meeting shows a lot about your status and it could influence your relationships with your colleagues. Learning where you should sit and what it communicates to others is extremely valuable for your long-term personal development. Because remember: it’s not about what you say, but where you sit!

As children we have learned to pick up on several social cues to ensure that we comply to the norms around us. One of these cues is known as the power seat. This is the seat that we unconsciously see as the one that has the most authority. In this article I will demonstrate where the power seat is located at three common types of tables.

The rectangular table

First the rectangular table, often a bureau that is used for work-related occasions and short meetings. At a rectangular table everyone has the opportunity to share their opinion on a topic and direct eye contact is encouraged.

where to sit at a rectangular table
Where to sit at a rectangular table.

If you imagine a formal setting, and I ask you what type of person sits at position 1. Does this person look more like an intern or the owner of the company? The point is, where you sit makes a difference. You can influence the different types of situations or reactions that you get from the people sitting around you by strategically choosing where you sit.

What your seat says for you

If you sit at the head of the table you unconsciously or intentionally are sending the following messages to the people around you:

  1. You are in control.
  2. You’re the leader of the group.
  3. You are trying to intimidate someone in your group.

Another option could be that you just paid attention when reading this article and next time at a dinner you quickly claimed the head of the table because no one but you had thought about it beforehand. Either way you will still feel the difference when you are sitting in position 1.

 

If you sit in position 2 you send a different message:

  1. You are more approachable.
  2. You’re a part of the team.
  3. You are ready to collaborate or openminded.

The messages that you send unconsciously are very subtle, but you will notice a shift in power dynamics from those around you. So to answer the question: where to sit in a business meeting? It depends on the behaviour that you are looking to induce.

 

The round table

The round table, this is often a coffee table and is usually combined with couches or comfortable chairs. A round table is often used to create an informal and relaxed environment or to convince others.

Where to sit at a round table
Where to sit at a round table.

King Arthur used the round table to provide equal distribution of authority amongst his knights. In theory everyone is equal when seated at a round table. However, in practise the authority distribution changes when someone with higher status or authority is present. The closer you are positioned to the ‘king’, the more power you will have.

In a one on one conversation, if you position your chair at an angle of 45 degrees it also creates a more informal environment. A good time to use this technique is at an annual result assessment.

 

The square table

The square table causes a few effects. It will often provide you with support from the person(s) next to you. However you will receive resistance from the person in front of you. When there are four people seated at a square table, everyone is facing someone in front of them. This is not benefitting your business whatsoever. If you are still wondering where to sit in a business meeting, I hope you are not asking this at a square table! Square tables belong in a cafeteria.

Where to sit at a square table.
Where to sit at a square table.

Why any drink can result in closing a deal

Sometimes knowing where to sit in a business meeting is not enough! However, offering someone something to drink during is an excellent tool to analyse how the other person thinks about you or your proposal. The way you can analyse this is by paying close attention to the placement of the drink after the other person took a sip.

Someone that is not convinced of your proposal will often form a barrier with their drink by placing it in front of their body. If the person is convinced or likes your idea they will often unconsciously place the drink beside them. Also if they cross their arms, it makes it extra difficult to maintain this posture with a drink in front of you. As you can imagine they have to uncross their arms to take a sip, if they keep their arms crossed while reaching for the drink it would look quite strange.

 

Bonus Tips:

  1. If you encounter a table where you are unclear where the power seat is located, and you forgot where to sit in a business meeting, it is possible to create the power seat by moving your chair back a little compared to the other chairs. This creates a center point that indicates authority. Just make sure that you don’t pull away too far because it might send unwanted signals. If you pull your chair back too far it might look like you are trying to remove yourself from the conversation. It could also appear like you are uncomfortable.
  2. At tables or in meetings you will often see that people who favour one another sit next to each other. As opposed to people who have an altercation to take care of, they will often sit opposite each other. If you are having an argument with someone and you want to stop fighting with them, sit next to them at the table. It will already send a different signal than sitting opposite them. However do not assume that this is the solution in every situation!
  3. Before choosing your seat, another thing you could take into account is the location of the walls. If you want to give the other person a safe feeling, best would be to make sure their back is facing a wall. This will calm them down.

Read more blog posts by clicking here!

If you are interested in learning more about body language and other business theories I recommend this book:

Article written by: Sam Lucas

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Summary of 2016

Sam Lucas - Summary of 2016

Personal development summary of 2016

My journey in personal development started in 2016, which is why the first annual summary is a summary of 2016. The focus of these posts is mainly to show that if you put in the work, you will see progress. I will tell stories of events that happened during the year and what I learned from them.

In 2016 I was still eighteen and I had no experience in entrepreneurship. Honestly I had no idea what entrepreneurship really was, let alone know that I would end up loving the craft! If you would like to have a better perspective of who I am or my story, I recommend reading this article about my past first.

 

My first venture

My journey in entrepreneurship and indirectly personal development started because of a school project. Another experience happened earlier that year, but more on that later. In my second year of college we were assigned to write a simple business plan. The group split up in smaller teams of five students each and we started thinking.

Eventually we came up with a simple plan to sell flower-bulbs in packs of two so they can be shared. Most flowers have a meaning behind them so we chose the Calla Zantedeschia, because it has the meaning of luck. This way you can share luck with someone for only five euro, a bargain!

The art of starting before you’re ready

I was the group leader so I mentioned to the group that I wanted to actually execute the plan as we were still writing it. My thought behind this was that it would probably give us a higher grade, due to the fact that other groups were just writing the plan. About two weeks into writing the plan my mom texted me a link to a meeting inside an old warehouse that went bankrupt years ago.

An organisation named Gather was allowed to start a new store in this building with all kinds of entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. They were allowed to stay in the building for the time being until a new multinational moved in. The reason why my mom texted me the link was so I could work as a volunteer and talk to the entrepreneurs so I could maybe learn something from them. But while I was there something very unexpected happened!

Gather up!

I went to the meeting with the thought of going there for networking purposes, the meeting started with a short presentation. After the presentation the project manager announced that she wanted the entrepreneurs to gather on the right side and the volunteers gather on the left side. In my mind my line of thought was, I’ve been an entrepreneur for two weeks so I think I belong on the right side!  I started introducing myself to the entrepreneurs and most of them laughed at me, they acted like I wasn’t worth anything. I think this was probably because I was thirty years younger than most of them.

Eventually I walked to the project manager, introduced myself and asked if I was allowed to stand here with my company. She asked if I had a product to display in three weeks and I told her that I’ve been in this business for a few months already (knowing very well that I didn’t have a product at all). She accepted my offer and suddenly my team and I had three weeks to launch a product on the market before the grand opening. These were the most stressful weeks of my life up until that point. I barely slept and worked seven days per week but we managed to get the product together three days before the grand opening.

This entire experience taught me that courage is an extremely valuable skill to be an entrepreneur. And I do use the word skill intentionally. I know that courage is something that you can learn, I used to be extremely introvert, but because of this one experience I started pushing myself every time I was afraid to do something. Any time that I was too scared to do something, I would do it anyways.

 

Meeting my mentor

In my first year of college I did not get hired at a company to do my internship so I had to do my internship period at a company called Ondernemershuis. You could see this as a small company that was founded by the school for students to do their internships if they were not able to work for real companies. Like a safety net to students. During this first internship I didn’t do anything, but I passed the final exam just so I’d go to the next school year.

This summary of 2016 has a common theme of me not being able to do something and succeeding in the end. In the second year of college we did another internship and again I did not get hired anywhere. This meant that I had to go to the Ondernemershuis company again. The thing is that the person who runs that company didn’t have to hire me. I honestly did a terrible job in the first year so he could have just denied my entry. He gave me a second chance. This second chance in combination with his coaching skills triggered something in me. I wanted to do something with my life! I promised myself that I would never get addicted to anything again and that I would always try my best.

Later in the internship

Sometime later, about halfway through the internship, the coach (Johan) told me to collect business cards of local businesses the next day because they would be potential customers. So the next day of the week I got up at 8:00 AM and was in the city by 9:00 AM, full of energy and wanting to impress my coach.

After walking around the city, I came to the conclusion that on a week day, most companies are not open this early. So I called Johan at 9:10 AM to tell him that the companies aren’t open yet to collect the business cards from. He laughed, and I think he noticed my enthusiasm but that I just didn’t really think ahead. I believe that this is where he saw some potential. I could tell that the way he treated me after that situation was a lot different. Much more positive. I think that was the moment that he decided to really start coaching me.

 

Executive meeting from hell!

During my internship Johan sent me off to multiple small companies in the city, this was seriously the scariest thing I had to do during this internship. I remember the first time that I had to go to a small local business to interview an entrepreneur one on one. I had to chance dress shirts three times before leaving the house, because I was sweating that profusely.

However, these were all small encounters with local entrepreneurs. My first time meeting a very important executive was when I started my first company. This was during the period when we had three weeks to launch a product. We needed flower bulbs to sell so this meant that we needed a supplier. I happened to know a girl that turned out to be the daughter of the CEO of the largest international Calla trader. After she told me I arranged a meeting with her father.

Drive to a meeting. Easy enough!

I had to go to his office by car, a simple plan. However I remember being exceptionally nervous and sweating a lot. I left the house right on time but on the way there I noticed that the car needed a refuel. I pulled over at the nearest gas station but the pump was on the other side of the lid to refill the car with gas. For this reason I had to walk behind the car to the other side but in the process of doing this I spilled a bunch of gas on my dress shirt. A nightmare!

The lady at the gas station was incredibly unsympathetic and not interested in offering paper to dry my shirt. I quickly went to a near campsite where I bought a bottle of water and poured it on my arm. They must have thought I was insane. I was now in a hurry to get to the meeting because this costed me a lot of time. My solution for drying my shirt was by driving on the highway to the office while holding my arm out of the window.

Better late than never!

So there I was 2 minutes late, storming into the office dripping in sweat, with a wet arm, smelling like gas. The CEO walked into the meeting room, shook my hand and literally the first thing he said was: “Does it smell like gas in here or something?”

I replied by saying: “Do you ever have days where literally nothing goes your way?”

He laughed and followed up with: “I’m going to make your day kid, how can I help you?”

And that is the story of my first meeting with an executive but also the story of how I met the amazing supplier for my first start-up experience!

Project manager abroad

In January of 2016 I went to Spain for a month with ten other students from my school. This was to study Spanish five days per week in order to improve. The group was split into two groups of five with one project manager each. I was assigned as project manager. We then went off to see one entrepreneur per group and they assigned us a task. Our task was to create a promotional video for the company Gastro Quality in 14 days total.

I have experience in video production and video editing so I proposed to do the editing. Everyone agreed and we started thinking about what we really wanted to create for this gentleman. The entrepreneur mentioned that he wanted an emotional branding video. This means that you give the viewer a good feeling and only show the logo at the end or very subtle in the background. We decided to display the city of Malaga (where the company is located) in a beautiful way.

Daily progress

We all started recording every single day after language school. In small groups or alone but we were making a lot of progress. I remember applying every leadership technique that I ever studied and I was still learning every single day. In the end we created a fantastic result that brought tears in the eyes of one of the final examiners. Everyone’s reaction made it all worth it, I remember putting the video together in two days working 12 hours per day. This is the video that we created.

When I got back every one had heard about the video, including the board of directors of my school! Our group was allowed to present the video in front of the entire board of directors. This was so satisfying, I watched my team as they did a phenomenal job presenting the video and their experience. It was one of my proudest moments at the time. I now truly realised that when you put in the work, when you give it your all, you do get the results.

 

From gamer to award winner?

Soon after the presentation I was nominated for the annual ‘Exceptional student award’ at my college. I had to battle it out with two other students from my college. The objective was to get the most votes from students and teachers combined. We had three days to collect votes. But by the time I had heard that I was nominated I was already 35 votes behind, I looked online and saw that my competitors already posted on Facebook and Instagram. I had to act quickly!

Quickly I created a strategy. I came up with the strategy by doing some simple math, the click through ratio on posting something on social media is very small. However if I am physically in a classroom asking for the vote it would have a much bigger ‘click through rate’ or chance of a successful vote. 30 people in a classroom, I assumed that on average 20 people would actually vote per class. If this would actually work, I’d only need to do a few classrooms to catch up!

So my plan was to go to every classroom in all three cities that my college was located. I used my sales experience from working door-to-door to give a short pitch about why I should win. First I walked into the first classroom that I saw, asked if I could give a short presentation and the teacher agreed. I gave a two minute pitch on how the students would benefit if I would win this award and just like that I got 25 votes. This must be the way to win!

Executing the plan

I gave it EVERYTHING I had. Giving over fifty presentations in three days, all in different classrooms and in front of people that I had never even seen before. It was scary at first but my determination and competitive edge pushed me to keep going. Even when I was tired, when my throat hurt or when I was thirsty. I was DETERMINED to win this award.

In all previous years the most votes any person had ever achieved was around 350. The amount of votes that I got in 2016 with this system was so much more than previous years that the jury was forced to change the rules of the entire competition. In 2016 I got 804 votes, people were shocked. even the judges were confused. My closest competitor only got around 300 votes. So they changed the rules, so this couldn’t happen again. They made the votes less valuable in the final judgement of who would win, and I got second place.

This made me so happy! I worked so incredibly hard to get the votes, I came up with a winning system. I was so good that they changed the rules! That’s phenomenal if you ask me. So in 2017 I graduated from that school, but another person was chosen to represent my education. She asked me to help her with the same local awards. I taught her the system and she did a great job, she avenged me by getting first place!

Presentation in front of a big crowd

With all of these things happening and going to all the different schools I was creating quite a name for myself within the college. I saw two members of the board of directors speaking in the hallway and when they noticed me I asked if I could pitch them an idea. They both looked quite surprised, apparently students don’t ask them a question that often. I pitched my flower-bulb idea, and that if they shared one of the bags together their connection would grow! They laughed and said that they liked the product and my enthusiasm.

They told me to deliver 100 bags on a very specific time and date at a location in The Netherlands (where I live). Without even thinking about it too much I just got to work and started packing the bags together with my mom. I was mainly just excited so I didn’t even think about why they wanted it at that specific time.

Summary of 2016 first company product
Summary of 2016 – First product

Time to deliver

So eventually it was time to bring the package and I brought the bags in black-painted Pink Lady apple boxes.  When I got there it turned out to be an annual meeting that they have at the start of every school year. When I walked in and started approaching a large hall someone walked up to me and quickly said: “Okay, when you get in there, give a five minute presentation about entrepreneurship. Good luck!” And then she kind of pushed me onto the stage.

There I was. Unwillingly standing on a stage with an apple box filled with bags of flowers in front of 100 people. The presentation actually did not go that badly. I basically used the same pitch that I used in the basement of the old warehouse earlier this year. I pitched it so many times that it is to this day still ingrained in my brain, haha.

 

Distinction graduate!

In August 2017 I started my journey by graduating on the highest possible level. My school works with the BTEC system, so they rate things by fail, pass, merit or distinction. Achieving a pass is the mandatory minimum, you can do an extra assignment to achieve the merit for a chapter. To achieve a distinction grade you need to get a pass, merit and then write a report about five sub-questions that answer the main question that is related to that chapter’s topic. There are 18 units in total, but for the grade that I wanted (Triple Distinction) you needed 18 passes, 13 merits and 13 distinction grades.

This is what I would do during the nights at my internship in London, so it was tough. But I would recommend any student to go for the highest possible grades! Previously one female student achieved the basic triple distinction (DDD). However in 2017 I graduated on the highest possible grade that any one from my school has ever achieved, D*D*D*. This is also the highest possible grade for the BTEC diploma.

 

A new mentor

In November I met another great person that really inspires me. Her name is Nancy Schonhage. She really helped me in life by coaching me on a bi-weekly basis. She taught me to write things down so if you are currently this it was because she taught me to do it!

 

The scariest presentation of my life

National achievers congress 2016. I just got to know a new friend, Yusuf Jamboria. He is also a very motivated fellow. He had two tickets for NAC 2016 and invited me to come with him so I definitely said yes. NAC is an annual congress where great speakers such as Robert Kiyosaki come to speak about their stories and lessons. I was sitting near the front with Yusuf and I didn’t really know how many people were sitting behind me.

Eventually this American gentleman got on the stage and he presented about sales. The core lesson of his presentation was to ask your customer questions about a problem instead of telling them how good you are. Near the end of the presentation he suddenly got quiet and just stood on the stage. Until he asked a question that I will never forget: “who here would like to present their product?” It felt like my heart dropped, maybe you know this feeling. My heart dropped because I had a product, with flowers! It felt like he was speaking to me. So I looked up and only saw two people raise their hands in the crowd. However this public speaker is an American so I knew he sure as hell would not get off the stage to bring them the microphone!

The moment that changed my life for ever

Without my consent my body just stood up and I started walking to the stage. Everything in my mind was telling me to stop but I kept walking. Suddenly they pointed a spotlight on me as I was walking and I hear the American speaker say with a deep voice: “look at how calm he is!” My heart was racing like crazy and I just wanted to run away! When I got to the stage I stepped on there in one smooth motion and he handed me the microphone. This is the moment when I turned around and found out how many people were in this hall! It must have been like 350 people! I remember looking at Yusuf from the stage and he just gave me a smile and a thumbs up.

Then the speaker announced that I had one minute to pitch my product and a counter below my feet started counting down. 0:59… 0:58… 0:57 it was seriously nerve-racking. The pitch didn’t go to well because I was unprepared, exceptionally nervous and I struggled pitching my product in English without preparation. In the end people applauded and then he took the microphone to show me how he would pitch my product. He started asking the crowd to raise their hand if they recognized the problem that he mentioned. With this method he asked three questions where people said yes every time and then he said: “well then this product might be for you!” I learned a lot.

Afterwards when people asked me why I wasn’t afraid to walk to the stage I told them: I was afraid but I just did it. For me it was a lesson in courage.

 

A mobile app had a huge impact on my life

One day I decided to download an app. The app was created for students to share their accomplishments with other students and universities. I wanted to represent my school so I made an account.

A week after I downloaded the app I saw this contest in the feed: Dutch leader award. This really intrigued me so I clicked on it. The goal was to get points, the way to get ‘votes’ but instead of votes they used a point system. If someone followed your account or liked your post that contained the #dutchleader tag, you would get a point.

I wasn’t sure what the price was but I saw that the first place only had like 30 points. The first thing I did was edit all my posts to contain the #dutchleader tag. Secondly I went into the discovery feed option and started adding and liking everyone’s posts. This drove thousands of people to my page (I was very dedicated in winning this award). For seven days straight it’s all I really did, because I wanted to win. At the end of the week the competition was over and I won by a long shot, I had over 15.000 points.

 

InSite Leadership Course

The award was a leadership course in Amsterdam hosted by InSite. I didn’t really know what to expect so it was quite scary to go. The Insite meetings were hosted once a month on Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. I decided to go even though I was very sceptical. Once I got there I saw about 50 students, all one or two years younger than me. It was very strange because they all seemed to know each other and I didn’t know anyone. I kind of started talking to the staff members about the course, she told me that this are all international students and their parents moved to the Netherlands.

In no-time everything got started. We had to make groups of five and I really didn’t know what to do. Everyone was already arranging in groups and I was just kind of standing there. Suddenly an American student came up to me and asked me if I wanted to join his group so I said sure! When I asked about who was in his group he said: “well currently it’s just us, let’s find more people”. This really made an impact on me, it made me realise something.

When you are assigned to make groups and you are in a room where no one knows you, chances are they are probably also looking for a group. So why wouldn’t you just ask them to join your group! To you this may seem normal but to me it was a new way to look at things. From the other person’s perspective.

 

InSite leadership weekend

So this monthly leadership course continued for about three months and I met a lot of new, amazing people. After the third month a special weekend was announced. In this weekend the entire group would be sent to a hostel in the south of Holland. At this weekend I saw things that I would have otherwise never have seen.

For example, we through-out the entire weekend you worked with the same group. Every evening we took turns in cooking and cleaning etc. On the last day when we were eating in the large dining area, everyone had an envelope on our plate. Inside this envelope we received a certain amount of tickets, and a bracelet with a specific colour. The amount of tickets you received and the colour of your bracelet was determined by where you sat down before you even knew what was inside the envelope. Or what the envelope was even for!

When everyone was seated we received a menu to order food from. But most of us quickly realised that we didn’t have enough tickets to buy food. While a few people started ordering crazy amounts of food because they had tickets (money). The ‘rich’  people even started behaving differently, shouting at the less fortunate people and throwing the chicken across the room. I am not saying that they were bad for doing that, it’s apparently how young these adolescents respond in the situation of becoming financially superior to their peers.

True human behaviour

I had a silver bracelet (the worst thing to get) and one ticket. A piece of chicken cost 9 tickets, and the way to get tickets was by doing chores around the hostel for 1 ticket per 30 minutes of work. The staff was apparently instructed to be as mean as possible and come up with terrible tasks for us. Such as sweeping the floor outside and cleaning toilets etc. They would constantly yell at you for no reason or if you missed one spot on the ground.

In this situation most people started to get desperate because of hunger and the chaotic environment. I decided to clean the toilets because it was warm inside and no one wanted to do that so there was plenty of work. Also after you clean a toilet for thirty minutes, if you do it again five minutes later it’s still clean. This meant that it wasn’t that bad in my opinion.

I promised to stay together with someone, but she ended up leaving me in the end because she had enough tickets and I had to keep working longer. The reason why I had to keep working for longer is because I worked an hour straight and in the end the staff member just told me to leave and that I didn’t get paid because I did a bad job. This was obviously impossible because the toilets were clean, but it was part of his instructions.

Why did they do this?

The point is that they tried to teach us something. This is the way the real world works. Some people are rich, and some people are poor. Often by no choice or fault of their own, just the place that they born. Or in my case, the place that I sat down. So don’t take everything for granted. Beautifully executed, I have a lot of respect for InSite. Unfortunately there was no food remaining by the time I had enough tickets. I ended up talking to one of the staff members in the kitchen and he let me in because he liked me.

I am very satisfied with the way I handled that situation. Even though I was less fortunate at the start, I worked hard, gave it my best and stayed true to my promises to others regardless of how cleaning toilets over and over again made me feel.

 

Getting hired for an internship one last time!

In December 2016 it was time to find an internship again. For the last two years I have always been denied by countless companies. However this time something was different, I changed, my attitude towards work was different. I had a fire in my stomach, ready to give it my all!

The interviewers seemed to notice this fire burning inside me because I was hired at 3/3 of the companies that I visited for an interview. A success rate of 100%! It was so satisfying to have achieved this. I decided to go to an internship in London for six months. To work as a lettings negotiator at RE/MAX Real Estate.

14 december, 2016

I decided to put my first start-up adventure on hold.  When I brought the news to my mentor Johan he said that no matter what I should just keep enjoying the process. He also said in Dutch:”je moet gewoon blijven glimlachen, zoals je er gister bij zat tijdens ons gesprek.” He is so right… I let so many small problems that the start-up had, get in the way of my happiness at the time.

 

I hope that you enjoyed reading this summary of 2016 and maybe even learned something from it. It did not contain all of the progress that I made in terms of personal development, emotional moments or dealing with hardships because it would simply take to long to write / read.

The main thing that I would love for you to take away from this summary is that if you put in the time, energy and work it is possible to change your life. I am living proof. If you have any questions you can comment them under this article or message my facebook page / instagram account.

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Posture for success

great posture for success

Your posture and the way you use your body has a deep effect on your mood, self-image, energy and could lead to, or prevent, many physical injuries. Being aware of your body language and using it to your advantage also boosts your level of confidence. When you are feeling self-confident it feels easier to sell your product, expand your network or even to persuade and influence people. Changing your posture is a small step and a good step to start with if you are just getting into personal development. However if you have already started with personal development it is still a very important thing to be aware of.

If you are interested in learning about body language I recommend this book:

Great standing posture

Stand tall with good posture. Status, power and confidence are displayed non-verbally through the use of height and space. Keeping good posture, with your shoulders relaxed and your head held high makes you look sure of yourself. If you stand with your feet close together, you might appear hesitant or unsure of what you are doing. However when you widen your stand, relax your knees and centre your weight in your lower body. You will look more solid and confident. If you stand you will look more powerful and assured to those who are seated.

posture improvement
Improving the way you stand

Body posture could also increase performance for the long term and physically it avoids unnecessary injuries such as back pain. Not having any physical injuries allows you to focus more intensely on the things that really matter. Now that you are fully aware of the dangers and benefits of posture. I would like to show you several ways to improve it.

Improve posture through self-reflection

One way to become more self-aware of your body language is by analysing your posture right now. Are you satisfied with your posture? In this image below you can see what good sitting posture looks like.

Posture improvement
Improving the way you sit.

Especially now, when so many of us are sitting at a desk all day, it’s important to follow these basic guidelines. Both for your posture and for your physical health. If you work long hours at a desk and have the option, use a chair that’s designed for proper supporting you based on your height and weight. If this is not an option, try using a little pillow for lower back support. Next, align your back with the back of the office chair. This helps avoiding slouching or leaning forward, which you may find yourself doing after focussing intensely or sitting too long at your desk. If you work on computers at an office, position the monitor on an angle a bit more upwards than you would if you were in more of a slouching position. This will force you to sit upright to see the screen better.

Lastly it is important to keep both of your feet on the ground or footrest (if your legs don’t reach all the way to the ground). This provides you with a more stable posture that is easier to maintain. If you learned something from this blog, there are a lot more blog posts to read!

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Are you playing the infinite game?

sam lucas personal development

Every single bankruptcy happens because the company ran out of the resources or will to play so they drop out of the game.  But the game itself will persist and another company will fill their space because it’s not like the business stops or that the industry ends. And the people that play the infinite game will frustrate companies that are playing the finite game. This is a quote from the book ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek.

Infinite game and the finite game

In a TED talk by Simon Sinek, he speaks about how game theory influences leadership and modern companies. In game theory there are two main types of games, finite and infinite games. Let’s start by defining the differences between the two.

A finite game is played to win. It is a game with known players, fixed rules and an agreed upon objective. For example a sport like soccer: we all agreed to the rules, we all know who scored the most goals at the end of 90 minutes wins. No one ever says ’Let’s play an extra 45 minutes because I know we can come back!’ That just does not happen, the game ends.

An infinite game is played with known and unknown player, the rules are changeable and the objective is to keep the game in play, to perpetuate the game. The infinite game will keep going until one of the players no longer has the will or the resources to keep playing.

Companies that play different games

Simon Sinek, the creator of this idea, spoke at two different major technology companies and out of respect for both companies I will name them Company 1 and Company 2. 80% of the executives at Company 1 spent most of their presentation on how to beat company 2, their competitor. Over at Company 2, 100% of the executives spent 100% of their presentation on how to help teachers teach, and how they could help students learn. One was obsessed with their journey, with their cause, and the other is obsessed with their competitor. Guess who is frustrated with their competitor? Company 1.

At the end of the presentation at Company 1 they gave Simon the new audio player that they created and it was amazing. Very logical in its use, intuitive and beautifully designed. Now at the end of the talk for Company 2, Simon shared a cab with one of the senior executives and he told the executive about this amazing new audio player and stated that it is much better than theirs. The only thing that the executive said was: ‘’I have no doubt.’’ Conversation over. Because the infinite player understands that sometimes your product is better and sometimes it is not. Sometimes you are ahead and sometimes you are behind. The goal is not to beat your competitor, the goal is to outlast your competitor.

infinite game symbol

The difference of being an infinite player

You will see that the infinite player does not compete against others, they compete against themselves. Finite players wake up every single day trying to beat their competitor. However, the infinite player wakes up says ”How can we be a better version of ourselves? How can we improve our metrics how can we make our products better than they were last week?”

It’s fine to study the competition tactically, but the number of companies that study their competitors strategically blows my mind. They look at what their competition is doing and they make sudden sharp left or right turns to change the course of their company based on what the
competition is doing. That is what wastes resources. The constant changing direction, the constant changing of your mind wastes resources.

Written by: Sam Lucas

Original TED Talk:

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Sales Technique: The Alternative Of Choice

personal development sam lucas

The alternative of choice might help you close more deals

the alternative of choice: for those who would like to be a more effective communicator, arrange more meetings with the right people, or are interested in closing more deals!

This is a popular method in sales that could offer support in moving you towards closing the deal. Some customers take a long time to decide and might not ever make the decision at all. This is why you should guide them towards making the decision by asking the right questions.

What you do is basically ask them a question with two answers and either answer they choose is a minor agreement leading towards the major decision. The number of alternatives should be very few – two or three is often enough. Do note that this technique works well in many different situations where you are seeking agreement, and not just selling products. Here are some examples of the ‘Alternative of choice’ method in action.

USING THE ALTERNATIVE OF CHOICE TO SCHEDULE A MEETING

If you say to many people in business, when can we get together? Especially if you are a salesperson they don’t want to see you. So they stall you: ”Call me next week.” ”E-mail me next month.” The point is that they don’t want to see you!

This is why you want to smile, say their name and ask them the nice question. John I’m available to meet with you today at 3:00PM or would tomorrow at 9:00AM be better for you?

With this technique they can’t say yes or no. They take 3 or they take a 9 but either way I’m going to meet with you. This method also works by using location: Would you like to meet at my facility or shall I come to your office? They can either say let’s meet at your facility or let’s meet at mine but they can’t say yes or no. How wonderful.

alternative of choice
The Alternative Of Choice

TWO SHORT EXAMPLES

Third, I would like to give two short examples that you could consider applying in the future.

– Would you prefer the red one or the yellow one?
–  Would you like one packet or two?

BONUS TIP

An extra technique that could be an effective touch is to add a slight nod when offering the preferred choice. This can be accompanied by subtle verbal emphasis on the words.

If you are interested in learning more about sales or personal development, there are more posts on my page.

 

By: Sam Lucas

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Public Speaking Experience

public speaking sam lucas

Today I finally faced my fear of public speaking. After procrastinating this fear for close to two years I finally decided to try motivational speaking in front of a crowd. My friend invited me to a Meetup named Kill your fear of public speaking. In turns everyone was allowed to present any topic in front of the group. Some people had extremely inspiring messages to share, it felt like a small-scale TED Talk.

Two of my friends, Wesley Oliveira and Jia Ruan invited me to come to this event, I didn’t want to do it at first because I did not have a story prepared but I decided to just go to learn from other speakers.

This event helped me finally break through a barrier that I have been trying to cross for years, I have wanted to do motivational speaking for a long time through YouTube videos. for at least a year but always procrastinated because I was afraid that it would be a bad video, I was afraid what others might think of me trying to inspire others.

Afraid of public speaking

People got their turn in speaking about a topic and after each presentation the speaker was allowed to choose the next person to come on stage. As one of the female speakers received a standing ovation, I was standing in the front and realised quite late that I was the only one that was still standing. She pointed to me and handed me the microphone.

At this point my mind went blank, I didn’t know what to say. Fortunately for me I had recently been  inspired by a gentleman named Simon Sinek and his book ‘Start with why’. So I gave a short presentation about how after seven months of thinking about my purpose in life. In this timeframe I came to the conclusion that the reason I want to be an entrepreneur is to have a positive influence on others. And being an entrepreneur I could potentially inspire millions of people even long after I have passed away because you become quite a high-profile person in the media.

After this presentation my arms were basically drowning in sweat because of the sudden exposure to this level of stress. I always have the courage to stand up to present but in the moment itself, if I am not fully prepared I still feel uncomfortable.

Public speaking experience aftermath

After the presentations I wanted to ask a gentleman by the name of Reginald, who put up an amazing performance during his presentation, a question so I asked him in Dutch if I could ask him a question. He replied quickly in an anxious manner that he did not speak Dutch that well yet because he moved to this country recently. So after we spoke for a while I challenged him to conquer that insecurity he could try to do his next presentation at this event in Dutch and I will never forget his reaction. It was quite honestly a remarkable experience for me because he was so happy and excited to do it! It felt like an entire universe just opened for me. This is what I want do in my life, inspire others! He happily accepted the challenge and I will see him soon.

What I learned from this whole experience. You will feel very accomplished after facing your fears and even though it is scary at first, it is worth it in the end.

Written by: Sam Lucas

If you are interested in reading the book that inspired me click below!